Monday, October 14, 2013

Field Trip Fiesta!

Last week was a busy one at Jones Family Academy!  We are scheduled to co-op every first and third Friday, so I try to schedule a field trip on the second and fourth Fridays.  Well, this week was super fun, 'cause we had two trips on the books...Coke and Blue Bell.  Does it get any better than that?  I don't think so!

We had the opportunity to join a group from our cover school (Ezekiel Academy) and visit the Montgomery Coca Cola Bottling Plant on Thursday.  We started our tour by enjoying an ice-cold soft drink as we learned a little about the history of Coke. 
 
 
Then we divided up into two groups and took our plant tour.  (No cameras allowed during the actual tour.)  Here's a few neat facts we learned.

Coke has more trucks in their fleet than UPS.

No one person really knows the "recipe" for Coke.
It is locked in a vault in Atlanta.
The plants just follow a formula for mixing the various "parts".
 
Coke is a big supporter of the polar bear.  (So apparently they don't just use them in their holiday commercials 'cause they're just so stinkin' cute throwing snowballs and sledding down hills!)
 
Our local plant works 24/7 and can produce over 45,000 cases of canned product per day.
 
Here's a group shot from the end of the tour:
 

 
On Friday, we met Moppie, Pop and Aunt Linda (a.k.a. my in-laws and Gerald's aunt) in Sylacauga for lunch and a tour of the happiest place on earth.  Wait - that's Disneyworld.  OK - a tour of where the happiest employees in Alabama work...Blue Bell! 
 
 
(By the way - do you like Brack's new glasses?  Both kids recently got them for reading and computer work, but Brack decided to wear his for the pic, too.  Isn't he handsome?) 
 
Pictures were only allowed in the ice cream parlor, so I can't show you what we saw.  Let's just say it was a beautiful sight.  Tons of ice cream being squeezed out into giant containers.  It was something to see!  I knew my mother-in-law was excited about being there.  Moppie has been known to serve dessert first just in case you aren't all that hungry afterward!  Our tour guide told us that employees can eat as much ice cream as they want each day, so their old slogan "we eat what we want and sell the rest" is actually pretty accurate!  When Brack heard this, he decided that he wanted to work at Blue Bell when he grew up.  Considering he eats a bowl of it every night before bed, it might save me some moolah in the long run!  (Get it?  Moo-Lah?  Cows moo, and give milk for ice cream...)
 
After the tour, we were able to sample our favorite flavors in their old-fashioned ice cream parlor.
 


That sure looks like mint chocolate chip on Jewell's nose!


 
Pop worked at a dairy for over 25 years so he sure looked natural in the hat!
 
Gerald's parents only live about an hour and a half away and we see them at least every other month or so, but it sure was nice to slip in an extra visit with them and Aunt Linda.  (BTW - Aunt Linda runs the airport in Sylacauga and Uncle Ray is an airplane mechanic.  Sounds like another great field trip if you ask me!)
 
Saturday was busy as well - so we had to divide and conquer.  Brack had a soccer game and so he and Gerald took off for Montgomery.  Jewell's dance team had a performance at the Cotton Festival, so she and I headed to the big city of Eclectic!
 

 

  


Jewell is in her eighth year of dance at Heart of Dance in Tallassee.  She LOVES performing and is quite a good little dancer!
 
As soon as she finished her performance, we jumped in the car and headed to Montgomery with my parents and nieces (Mary Reagan and Ann Welch) where we met up with Brack.  Faulkner was hosting the 2013 Montgomery Area Buddy Walk for Downs Syndrome on our football field.  My dad welcomed everyone to the campus, and then he, four of his grandkids, Big Mo' (the mascot for the Montgomery Biscuits) and nearly 1000 participants made two laps around the field.  It was a beautiful day, the kids had a lot of fun, and it was for a great cause.
 


 
The kids spent the night with my parents on Saturday night, so Gerald and I actually had a date night!  It is very seldom that we go places without the kids, so it was nice to have a quiet dinner together. 
 
We headed to Lake Martin (about 15 minutes from the house) and had dinner at the newly re-opened Kowaliga Restaurant.  We sat on the deck and had a great time!  As you can see below, it has a breathtaking view.  Even at night we could still enjoy the stars and the lights of the boats that were still out on the water.  My parents keep a boat on the lake and we spend a lot of time there in the summer with my brothers and their families.  We plan on packing a picnic and going for one last ride to enjoy the changing leaves before the boat gets put away for the winter.  I'll be sure to post when we do! 

 
For those of you who may not know the back story, Hank Williams owned a cabin nearby and often came there to write.  "Kaw-Liga" was on the flipside of "Your Cheatin' Heart".  It's about an old dime-store wooden Indian who falls in love with an Indian maiden at an antique store.  She waits for him to express his feelings (which he can't do since his heart is made of knotty pine!), but she is sold and taken away before he makes his move.  Poor old Kaw-Liga is so sad that he wishes he was still an old pine tree!
 

 
There's a new Kaw-Liga statue and lots of Hank memorabilia at the restaurant.
 
If you've never heard the song (or it's been a while), here's a link.  It's a great old song!
 
We had a great discussion in Sunday school about a Christian's attitude toward and obligation to our government.  (The teacher is pretty good (Gerald), but I like to give him a hard time!)  Our preacher, Randy Medlin, gave a wonderful sermon on "All you need is love".  We stopped at our favorite Chinese place on the way home for lunch.  (Believe it or not, it's the kids' favorite, too!)  Finally, we got a lot of yard work done yesterday afternoon in preparation for our big Halloween party in a few weeks. 
 
Whew!  Well - that's what went on last weekend in our neck of the woods!  Glad to have a holiday today to relax a little before jumping back in with both feet!
 
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I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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